Virat Kohli's absence during Test series will put all sorts of pressure on different players: Ricky Ponting

Virat Kohli’s absence during Test series will put all sorts of pressure on different players: Ricky Ponting

The war of words have begun ahead of the Test series between India and Australia.

Ricky Ponting and Team India
Ricky Ponting and Team India. (Photo Source: Getty Images)

Team India has already embarked on its Australia tour with the three-match ODI series set to commence on November 27. The visitors are already facing a few injury concerns with their limited-overs vice-captain Rohit Sharma not being part of the ODI and T20I squads. Moreover, the skipper Virat Kohli is set to return after first of the four-match Test series to attend the birth of his and Anushka Sharma‘s first child.

For the same reason, former Australia skipper Ricky Ponting feels that the tourists will be under more pressure from the first game of the Test series itself. According to him, India’s playing XI is far from settled even for the first D/N Test and Kohli’s departure will put pressure on even the other players like Ajinkya Rahane among others.

Last time India toured Australia during the 2018-19 season, they defeated the hosts in the Border Gavaskar Trophy by a 2-1 margin to register their first ever series win down under in the format. But Ricky Ponting pointed out the fact that Australia were missing their best batsmen like David Warner and Steve Smith.

“The one thing we haven’t spoken enough about is yes India were really good here last time, but with those guys (Smith and Warner) missing at the top of the order, that leaves a big gap in any team. India will feel that without Kohli there (for three Tests), for his batting and leadership, that will put all sorts of pressure on different players.

“You’d think (Ajinkya) Rahane will take over the captaincy, which will put extra pressure on him, and they’ve got to find someone to bat at that really important No.4 spot,” Ponting was quoted as saying by cricket.com.au.

India have got more questions to answer, feels Ricky Ponting

Ricky Ponting also went on to claim that India will have a lot of questions to answer when Virat Kohli leaves and even for the opening Test of the series. An air of uncertainty around Ishant Sharma’s availability will also weaken their bowling attack which comprises of Mohammed Shami and Jasprit Bumrah.

“I don’t think they’ll be clear in their own mind, even now, what their batting order will look like for the first Test. Who’s going to open, who’ll bat at four when Kohli goes? (Fast bowlers Mohammad) Shami, Jasprit Bumrah – will it be Ishant (Sharma), with it be Umesh Yadav, will it be a young guy like (Navdeep) Saini or (Mohammad) Siraj?

“The questions that are being asked around Australia with (Will) Pucovski and (Cameron) Green, I think India have got a few more questions to answer,” Ponting further added.